When Hateful Speech Has Consequences

The attempted assassination of Congress members in the middle of a ball park should serve as a stark indicator of the state of a country. In fact, last Wednesday's shooting — which left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, congressional aids and Capitol law enforcement officers wounded — might offer us more clues than we dare admit about what can happen when violence against elected officials is relativized, satirized and even celebrated.

Just think about the kind of message public figures, comedians and entertainers have sent since Donald Trump won the presidency.

In March, Snoop Dog released a music video in which he shoots a clown dressed as Donald Trump. Shortly after, comedian Kathy Griffin posed in her now infamous photoshoot where she holds a bloodied mask of the president's face. And, most recently, an inflammatory New York modern production of Shakespeare in the Park depicts Trump as Caesar, stabbed to death on stage. This isn't even counting the derogatory remarks hurled at the first family.

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